I’ve been sent some information about a new free-to-play MMO coming out this spring called Dragonica. I’ve become a serious convert to free-to-play games in the past year and this one looks like it could be fun with fast action and fun anime-style graphics. And did I mention, free?
Dragonica is a Gala Networks project described as “the first online 3D side-scrolling arcade game” which is reminiscent of games like Donkey Kong Country. I was a little bit disappointed by their website, with a download button leads to a page that tells you it will be available here soon. Quite honestly, this put me off immediately. It strikes me as the same mindset that will launch a game full of holes, asking players to be patient while they finish up the details. However, the rest of the site is in place and offers some pretty good-looking movies showing the game in action. You can play Dragonica with a mouse and keyboard or with a gamepad if you have the appropriate (3rd-party) software.
Although these clips are focused on the arcade-style movement, the developers are reassuring that game-play is focused on grouping. The game is based on the land of Dragotaka, with dungeons and labyrinths as well as villages for meeting people and trading. There is PvP after level 20, offering the player the opportunity to battle solo or join in on team death matches. Draconica appears to have all the standard communications that one would expect from an MMO: chat systems, friends lists, market trading and an in-game postal system.
However, there are also some intriguing new aspects. If you form a couple with another player, you gain a special ability to warp to your partner’s location and you gain skills and buffs when you play in range of that person. Apparently your status as being in a couple is marked with a heart, which could be off-putting for friendship duos. Larger groups pay out in Friend Points, which you can hand in for bonus experience after your group encounters.
All in all, I have to admit, the game looks just off the beaten track enough to warrant a further look. I’ve been a bit disappointed by new launches recently (yes, Age of Conan, I’m still looking at you) but I will definitely give Dragonica a go.
Registration for the closed beta is now open. If you sign up, let me know in the comments.
(For more up-to-date information, see MMORPG Info » A Preview of Dragonica)